4. MICHAEL ROCKEFELLER’S DISAPPEARANCE
Fifth child of New York Governor (later Vice President) Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, Michael Rockefeller and Dutch anthropologist René Wassing set out in a canoe to study the indigenous tribes and animal species of the Asmat region of New Guinea. Shortly after arriving in the area, the canoe overturned leaving Wassing drowning while Rockefeller swam to shore. He was never seen again and legally declared dead 1964.
Theories abounded at the time as the press speculated about Rockefeller having succumbed to the native’s penchant for cannibalism and headhunting. However, it may simply have been the case that he also drowned after the canoe accident along with this Dutch counterpart or survived but was subsequently attacked by a shark or saltwater crocodile. Either way, no one to this day truly knows what happened to the intelligent Harvard graduate except that he was pronounced dead in absentia despite an intensive and lengthy search effort.
An interesting book by Carl Hoffman published in 2014 recounts the author’s own investigation of the New Guinean villages and makes some startling suggestions.